Dodgers vs Giants
2021. What a year for baseball. Who would’ve thought that the San Francisco Giants would have come out on top this year? Last year, they had a 29-31 record. The year before that, they had a 77-85 record. This year, they shocked the world of baseball with a 107-55 record, which is the best record in all of Major League Baseball this year, ending the Los Angeles Dodgers’ 8-year streak of having the best record in the NL West. This year, the Dodgers had a record of 106-56, 1 game behind the Giants. To make things more surprising, the Giants don’t have any outstanding players. No one had incredible stats, every player was somewhat decent. There are not many players that are truly memorable on the Giants. This reflects the cohesiveness of the team and the outstanding management capabilities of Gabe Kapler.
After the Dodgers beat the Cardinals in the National League Wild Card Game, the ultimate rivalry was set up in the National League Division Series. The Dodgers vs. the Giants. 5 games would be played, and the first to 3 wins in the series would advance to the National League Championship Series. This series was by far one of the most unpredictable series of the year. Anything could happen.
GAME 1: DODGERS @ GIANTS 0-4 10.08.21
Dodgers pitcher Walker Buehler will face off with Giants pitcher Logan Webb in Game 1 of the NLDS. During the regular season, Buehler had been dominant, having the third most wins of 16 and the third lowest earned run average of 2.47. However, Webb outperformed Buehler with an impressive and dominant 7 innings and 2 outs pitched, striking out 10 and only giving up 5 hits. Giants catcher Buster Posey set the foundation for the Giants to win this game as he hit a two-run home run in the bottom of the 1st inning. The Giants’ defense had proven to be stellar this game. In the top of the 4th, La Stella and Crawford turned an athletic, impressive double play that ended the inning for the Dodgers. Towards the end of the game, Kris Bryant and Brandon Crawford both hit home runs, solidifying the Giants’ 4-0 lead and hence securing the win.
GAME 2: DODGERS @ GIANTS 9-2 10.09.21
In Game 2 of this intense series, Dodgers starter Julio Urias, who led the league with 20 wins, will face off with Kevin Gausman, who has had an impressive 2.81 ERA over 192 innings pitched. The Dodgers’ offense dictated the outcome of the game. In the top of the 2nd inning, Urias and Betts both hit RBI singles, driving in runners Taylor and Pollock, putting the Dodgers’ in a 2-0 lead early in the game. The Dodgers continued to extend their lead with an explosive 6th inning, in which Bellinger and Pollock both hit two-run doubles, setting the score to be 6-1. In the bottom of the 6th inning, Crawford hit a single with runners on first and third, scoring the Giants a run, but Betts quickly ended the inning on the same play by making a magnificent throw to get Flores out at third. As the game continued, the Dodgers continued to extend their lead further with a 3-run 8th inning. The Dodgers’ offense carried the team to a 9-2 win, tying the series at 1-1.
GAME 3: GIANTS @ DODGERS 1-0 10.11.21
The series switches over to Dodgers stadium now. Will the newly acquired starting pitcher Max Scherzer continue his dominant regular season over to the postseason? Or will ex-Dodgers pitcher Alex Wood control the outcome of the game over the Dodgers? For the first four innings on this windy night, the game was quiet. The game was tied at 0-0, until Evan Longoria hit a home run in the top of the fifth innings. Giants lead 1-0. The game remained quiet for the remainder of the game, with neither side scoring. For the final out, Gavin Lux flew out to center fielder, who was awfully close to hitting a home run that could tie up the game, hence ending the game 1-0. What a crucial win for the Giants, and what a tough loss for the Dodgers. What would be strong, dominant pitching from Scherzer turned into a tough loss, having only given up one run over 7 innings with 10 dominant strikeouts. The Giants now lead the series 2-1; one more win for the Giants and they will advance to the NLCS.
GAME 4: GIANTS @ DODGERS 2-7 10.12.21
With each game in this series, the games continue to become more important. This could be a significant turning point for either team. If the Giants win this game, they will advance to the NLCS. If not, the Dodgers will stretch this division series into game 5. In the first five innings, the Dodgers’ offense proved that they were not ready to end the postseason just yet, as they scored 5 runs in just those innings. Starting with Trea Turner’s RBI double, Chris Taylor hit a sacrifice fly, Mookie Betts hit a two-run homerun and a sacrifice fly, putting the Dodgers up in the lead. Although the Giants fought back, scoring two runs by the eighth inning, the Dodgers topped it off with a two-run homer by catcher Will Smith, solidifying their win with a score of 7-2. The series would ultimately stretch to the suspenseful game 5.
GAME 5: DODGERS @ GIANTS 2-1 10.14.21
For the most crucial game of the series, the Dodgers would be back at Oracle Park in San Francisco to determine whether they or the Giants would advance to the National League Champion Series. This game was very similar to Game 3: the game would remain silent for the first 5 innings. The 6th inning is where action started to take place. After Betts stole second base after hitting a single, Corey Seager doubled on a 2-0 count in the top of the 6th, putting the Dodgers to a 1-0 lead. However, the Giants responded as Darin Ruf hit a home run in the bottom of the 6th, tying the game at 1. This deadlock would continue until the very last inning, in which Cody Bellinger hit the game winning single to score Justin Turner. Max Scherzer would be brought in to close the final half inning of the series. With two outs and a runner on first, Wilmer Flores strikes out on a controversial check swing call, which advanced the Dodgers to the NLCS. The call was objectively incorrect as the replay shows that Flores did not swing, but the play could not be challenged and the Giants had to sit there and take it. The series led to a disappointed and outraged Giants fanbase, with the ecstatic Dodgers who just beat the league’s best team in the biggest rivalry of the year to advance in the postseason.